Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile
Review: Good friend, colleague, and poet Robert Sherard chronicles a new adventure for Oscar Wilde that spans over a year in his life in Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile, the third mystery in this series by Gyles Brandreth.
In late 1881, Wilde sets sail from Liverpool to New York City to embark on a year-long lecture tour of the United States. He ends his tour in New York City, where he meets the stage actor/manager Edmond La Grange, his family, and his company of actors. They will be returning on the same ship as Wilde back to Europe. The trip doesn't start well, though. La Grange's valet decides not to accompany him, so Wilde offers the services of his own valet, Tranquir, in his stead. Then someone kills La Grange's mother's pet dog. Soon after arriving in Paris, Tranquir is found dead in his room, an apparent suicide. La Grange's son, Bernard seems to have taken to the streets as a vagrant and his twin sister, Agnes, screams or breaks into tears at the drop of a hat (so to speak). "What is it with this family?" Wilde wonders. When he begins digging into their lives, he uncovers a staggering secret that affects every member of the La Grange family and many of their associates.
As Oscar Wilde was a real person, and are several of the characters that populate the book, from Arthur Conan Doyle to Sarah Bernhardt, and with the retrospective manner in which the story is told, it's hard at times to remember that Edmond La Grange and his family are fictional, so well drawn are they. It's a well-spun tale of mystery and intrigue, and Oscar Wilde and his wide sphere of friends and associates are very enjoyable characters to get to know. Wilde's famous wit is also prominently on display ("You should never trust a man that shows you his lower teeth when he smiles," he quips) as is his keen intellect in solving a series of most mysterious crimes. This third book, Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile, like the series itself, is highly recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile.
Acknowledgment: Touchstone provided a copy of Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder
Touchstone (Hardcover), September 2008
ISBN-13: 9781416575795; ISBN-10: 1416575790
Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders
Touchstone (Hardcover), May 2011
ISBN-13: 9781439153698; ISBN-10: 1439153698
Location(s) referenced in Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile: New York City
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Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man's Smile by Gyles Brandreth — An Oscar Wilde Mystery
Publication Date: September 2009
List Price: $24.00